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Re: <eyebeam><blast> TNCs

Brad Brace writes:

"The great unanswered question is whether an economy in which almost
everyone was an owner might also eventually alter the irresponsible
behaviour engendered by capitalism itself."

Is the question really unanswered? Or are we just pretending not to
know? Alternative-minded economists talk about the "limited rationality"
of individual actors seeking their advantage in situations of
capitalistic competition - and the rest of Brad's post goes on to
suggest that ownership fragments a society, focusing each owner on
private interests. The possibility to own a suburban home, for instance,
is a great way to defuse political pressure from the disenfranchised -
get them out of the city and saddle them with debt. Makes a person very
conservative right away. And what happens when your retirement money is
invested in the stock market? Whose health and wealth do you worry
about? The pension plans by capitalization, put into effect in a handful
of countries (US, Canada, Britain, Japan, Chile) now provide the huge
monetary masses that drive the financial markets, whose digital-quick
profit margins have pushed industry to demand increasingly high returns
as well, resulting in increased pressure on labor and on the
environment. The widening gap between poor and rich on the world scale
makes the whole hypothesis of everyone-an-owner into wishful thinking,
I'm afraid.

The great unanswered question might be this: will the rapacious
exploitation and effective political monopoly of transnational
corporations spark any powerful new alliances between bourgeois
intellectuals and those who have little or nothing to lose?

Brian Holmes

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